Joint Statement following the official visit to Seychelles of H.E Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, Minister For Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, from 19th-20th May 2014, at the invitation of Mr Jean-Paul Adam, Minister for foreign Af
1. At the invitation of Mr. Jean-Paul ADAM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles, H. E. Honourable Hanna Serwaa TETTEH (MP), Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, undertook a two-day official visit to Seychelles. The Minister’s delegation included Dr. Kodzo K. ALABO, Director, Africa and Regional Bureau, Mrs. Martha POBEE, Ag. High Commissioner, High Commission of Ghana in Pretoria, Ms. Francisca Twintoh, P. A. to H. E. Honourable Hanna Serwaa TETTEH (MP), and Mr. Bernard K. ACQUAH, Desk Officer, Africa and Regional Integration Bureau.
2. During her visit, the Minister called on Mr. James A. MICHEL, President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr. Danny FAURE, Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles, and other high Government officials.
3. In the meetings that took place during the visit, the unique relationship that Seychelles and Ghana share was underlined. This relationship dates back to the 1900 when King Prempeh of the Ashanti was exiled in Seychelles. Both countries renewed their commitment to preserve this strong historical link and rich heritage that they share.
4. The two Foreign Ministers also underlined that their partnership is rooted in the values the two nations share and nurtured by the deep and multifaceted ties forged over the years. They recognised that both countries share a vision for an African continent that is characterized by prosperity, security and democratic governance. They agreed that the bilateral relationship between Seychelles and Ghana has strengthened in recent years. In this context, they acknowledged that it was time to advance and expand both countries’ relationship to a new level of partnership and committed to work together toward this end.
5. The two countries also recalled their common and unwavering commitment to the ideals of Panafricanism and African renaissance which continue to inspire and guide the African family in all its endeavours. Seychelles acknowledged the pivotal role played by Ghana in promoting Pan africanism and expressed the wish for the two countries to work more closely together in developing the African Union Agenda 2063.
6. Bilateral talks on issues of mutual interest to the two countries also focused on:
The Tourism sector was identified as an area with enormous potential for cooperation. In this regard, it was proposed that consultations be held at the sectoral level to identify concrete areas of cooperation that could include joint-branding, exchanges between the two countries tourism academies and institutes as well as the sharing of expertise and know-how. These areas of collaboration could be encapsulated in an MoU on Tourism Cooperation which the two countries agreed to negotiate.
The two Ministers expressed their satisfaction at the conclusion of the Visa-waiver Agreement which will further facilitate people-to people links between the two countries.
The Ministers also expressed support for the principle of developing an African Tourism Strategy following the African Ministers of Tourism meeting which took place on the 14th March 2014 in the Seychelles. They expressed willingness to work together within the context of the upcoming Tourism and Transport meeting to be held in Seychelles later this year.
ii). Trade cooperation
Attention was given to the economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries; the Ministers noted their satisfaction with the conclusion of negotiations toward a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. This agreement will facilitate investments in each other’s markets, strengthen overall economic ties and promote growth, employment and prosperity in both countries.
It was noted that there had been a steady increase in trade between the two countries but there was a need to intensify and diversify trading products as part of the overall objective of boosting intra-African trade.
The tuna fishing industry was identified as an area of enormous potential for cooperation which would be facilitated by the signing of the Agreement on Administrative Cooperation between the Republic of Seychelles and the Republic of Ghana.
A pledge was made for increased engagement with the private sector to improve the air and maritime connectivity between the two countries in order to increase trading links. They therefore agreed to pursue negotiations to conclude the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Seychelles and Ghana.
It was also agreed that the two countries conduct fact-finding missions and business forums in order to better link their business communities.
The sharing of financial intelligence was also identified as a key component of the future cooperation of the two countries considering their shared commitment in the fight against money laundering and fraud.
The Ministers acknowledged that the ocean represents a huge opportunity for mutual cooperation between the two countries. They underscored the desire of both countries to develop joint ventures and explore avenues to take advantage of the potential of the Blue Economy for the sustainable development of Africa.
In this regard, they agreed to establish cooperation in the fisheries sector especially in fisheries monitoring and maritime security.
In terms of the petroleum sector, they agreed to share best practices and pursue capacity building initiatives.
iii). Cultural cooperation
During their discussions, the two Ministers expressed their pleasure at the wealth of the cultural
heritages of their peoples as well as their longstanding ties of friendship, and were delighted with
the progress and deepening of the privileged cultural relations between Seychelles and Ghana.
The Ministers understood the importance of strengthened cooperation for heritage protection and
promotion as well as the development of artistic exchanges. An invitation was therefore extended for Ghana to participate in the 2015 Edition of FetAfrik as a way of strengthening the cultural heritage that Ghana and Seychelles share.
They also underscored the value of youth and sports exchanges as a way to strengthen people-to-people linkages that will endure into the future.
7. The two countries agreed to continue to cooperate closely on issues related to peace and security, democracy, human rights and good governance, particularly through the United Nations, the African Union and the Commonwealth. The agreed to work towards developing common positions on issues o of mutual interest in various international fora within the context of the MOU on Political Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana.
8. At the conclusion of the bilateral talks the following agreements were signed:
i. General Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and the Republic of Seychelles;
ii. Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles;
iii. Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and the Republic of Seychelles on short-stay visa waiver;
iv. Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and the Republic of Seychelles for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect with respect to taxes on income and capital gains;
v. Agreement on Administrative Cooperation between the Republic of Seychelles and the Republic of Ghana;
9. The two Ministers also had an in-depth exchange of views on the particular challenges faced by small island developing states. They stressed that islands, which are the barometers for development, are today demonstrating global leadership and rapid progress in addressing sustainable development challenges and inspiring other countries around the world to do the same. They stressed the need for closer collaboration between the two countries in mobilizing the African family and the wider international community to address more effectively the needs and vulnerabilities of islands, particular within the context of the forthcoming SIDS Summit to be held in Samoa in September 2014.
10. As part of the programme for the visit H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, visited various sites of interest including the place where Nana Prempeh I, King of the Asante Ambahene, and the remaining descendants of the King lived whilst in Seychelles, and the Indian Ocean Tuna Canning Factory.
11. The two Foreign Ministers concluded their meeting by expressing satisfaction with the strengthened cooperation between the two countries and agreed to continue on that path by enhancing bilateral relations through high-level visits, judicial cooperation, training, technical assistance, inter- parliamentary exchanges and encouraging partnerships between businesses, institutions and people.